Vice President (Operations) Allan Morris said the sudden COVID-19 outbreak in NSW and the unpredictable nature of the virus’s spread have forced a delay in University staff returning to work on campus in 2021.
The planned return on Monday January 4 has been pushed back to Monday February 1. Students are still scheduled to return at the end of February for Session 1 study.
Campuses closed to most student classes and activities in March and most staff have been working from home during the pandemic in 2020.
‘Southern Cross has always, and will continue to put the health and safety of our students and staff as our first priority,’ said Mr Morris.
‘We would much rather act with caution and in the context of the current fast-changing environment and not be forced into making last-minute or multiple changes to plans.’
SCU has about 9000 students across its three main campuses at Lismore, Gold Coast and Coffs Harbour and about 5000 online.
‘It is important to recognise that COVID-19 remains an active issue,’ Mr Morris warned.
When staff do return to the campuses, the univerity said adherence to the 1.5m ‘physical distancing’ guidelines, as set by the relevant state health departments, will be required. Student Ambassadors will be engaged as COVID-19 Marshalls to remind people to maintain ‘physical distancing’, especially in high traffic areas such as the libraries, cafés, building foyers and corridors.
All people on campus will be required to register their attendance each day.
Mr Morris thanked University staff for their patience this year and their ability to successfully work from home, identifying that this could be a more common arrangement in the future.
‘We recognise that there is a “new norm” post COVID-19 and we will be flexible in balancing the needs of the institution with the personal needs of staff wherever practical,’ he said.